(1) Of or relating to a saprophyte.
(2) Feeding, absorbing or growing upon decaying organic matter (e.g. dead or decaying animal or vegetable matter).
The use of the term ‘saprophytic’ (-phyte, referring to plants) to describe organisms feeding on decaying organic matter is no longer popular since there are no plants that are truly saprophytic. Fungi and bacteria with such feeding behaviour are no longer considered as plants.
Related forms: saprophyte (noun)